Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mini-reviews: Red At Night by Katie McGarry and The Snake Charm by Laura Lam

Today sees the return of my mini-reviews! Mini-reviews used to be a regular thing on Fluttering Butterflies but I haven't written any in awhile. As I recently read two short novellas/short stories by two of my favourite recent authors I thought that it would make sense to review both in the same post.  They are both very different but very interesting at the same time.

Red At Night by Katie McGarry

I really enjoy Katie McGarry stories.  I think she has a great skill for bringing her readers really interesting characters who have great relationships with each other.  Red At Night is no exception to this. It tells the story of Stella and Jonah, two teenagers who meet at the cemetery and forge this connection despite leading very different lives.

What I liked about this short story is that within a very short period of time I felt very emotional about both Stella's story and also about Jonah's.  Stella has dyed hair and has been bullied for years because she doesn't have much money and is just generally different to the other students at school. Whereas Jonah is popular at school and leads a privileged life where it's more possible to take things for granted. When Stella and Jonah meet at the beginning of this novella, it is in the cemetery after Jonah experiences this life-altering car accident and begins to question the direction he's taking in life.

While I would have liked to have explored more about these characters and their experiences and lives and friends and family before Red At Night, I do also appreciate that most things are resolved by the end. I thought this novella was hopeful and emotional and it re-confirmed my love of Katie McGarry's skill as a writer.

The Snake Charm by Laura Lam

When I first head about Laura Lam's decision to self-publish a collection of Vestigial Tales, I was incredibly excited. I love the world she created in Pantomime and Shadowplay. I loved the characters and Vestige and I couldn't wait to read more and find out every bit of new information about this world that I could...

And The Snake Charm did not disappoint. This story focuses on Drystan, the White Clown, before Micah Grey shows up at RH Ragona's Circus of Magic. It tells this story of unrest amongst the clowns and how Drystan finds himself in the middle of this fight between one of the other clowns and Bil, the ringmaster involving an incredibly powerful piece of Vestige.

I think what The Snake Charm does so well is that not only does it show us the dangers and consequences that come with owning this particular piece of Vestige but it also gives a bit fuller of a back story to a really well-loved character.  Drystan has always been one of my favourite characters from Pantomime and Shadowplay and I loved that he gets the full spotlight in this novella.  It was fun to see his role in the circus a little better and to see his perspective on some of the other key players in the circus before Micah Grey shows up.

I thought The Snake Charm was a wonderful addition to this world.  It was a fun adventure and I can't wait to read the other Vestigial Tales, The Fisherman's Net, The Tarot Reader and The Card Sharp.


  1. I love Katie Mcgarry's books
    they are absolutely amazing and so emotional
    love your mini-reviews
    your reader,

  2. I was very impressed that McGarry made me feel so much for Stella and Jonah in such a short time! However, was slightly ruined when my boyfriend pointed out that if she's poor, how does she afford hair dye - I had no comeback, which was annoying!

    1. Maybe she steals it off her dad's ex? or there was a clearance? I don't think one small detail should ruin anything! :)


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